Outside the house, Carlisle, Jasper, Edward, Emmett and Jacob stood in a row facing the southern direction of the woods. Behind them stood Joe, Nick and David. They and the vampires wore casual spring clothing, like jeans, tee's and small seasonal jackets for the outdoors. Jacob wore only a pair of black shorts.
"You ready for this?" Jacob asked the three.
They were about to see him morph into his wolf form for the first time. The guys nodded silently, staring in great anticipation. Jacob grinned, and then crouched low for a moment. Seconds later, he burst into a leap, and a red-brown wolf exploded out of him, his human appearance gone in a second. Four large paws hit the grass as shreds of the shorts he was once wearing fell softly. A wolf the size of a horse turned and faced the three possessors.
David took a step back and tripped on a large stone, falling on his butt. He sat and stared at the wolf, making no attempt to get up, as him and his two cousins were frozen in amazement. Joe laughed almost deliriously, stunned by the wonder of the rapid transformation. Nick panted as if he was scared, but that wasn't the case.
"Unbelievable." David whispered.
The Jacob wolf took formation at the Cullen’s side once again, and David finally got up - the three possessors shaking away the remnants of their shock.
"Listen up!" Jasper announced to them all. "We're going to test the speed of both vampire and possessor. There is a cliff face about five miles in that direction. We will run there as fast as we can, including Jacob, while the possessors will fly. We'll see who makes it there first."
"You said your top speed was 100 mph." Nick replied. "We can reach 150."
"So can I." Emmett smiled, preparing to run. "Not all of us are slow pokes."
"You may take to the air, gentlemen." Carlisle instructed.
Joe, Nick and David activated their powers, and then floated about fifteen feet off the ground.
"Everyone ready?" Jasper called.
Edward crouched, and so did the large wolf. Carlisle stood patiently as if he were merely going for a jog. The three possessors summoned their telekinetic strength to maximum level.
The four vampires sprung forward, along with Jacob, bounding to the woods in blurs and gone from view in the blink of an eye. The wolf entered the woods last, having to gain momentum unlike the others. The possessors hesitated for another second, still overwhelmed by the vampires speed, but they regained composure and shot off above the trees, leaving streaks of green, purple and red energy in their path.
Back in the house, Esme, Alice, Rosalie and Renesmee worked vigorously in Rosalie's large bathroom to doll up Lindsey. She was propped up in a seat, her head underneath a large faucet in a special sink, and there Rosalie gently washed Lindsey's hair as Renesmee went through soaps, cosmetics, lotions, perfume and an assortment of brushes and tools. Esme and Alice picked out dresses for the teen from a selection they had recently purchased.
"Are you comfortable?" Rosalie asked kindly as she lathered Lindsey's hair into ball. "I'm not washing too hard, am I?"
Rosalie had her hair up in a single clip, strands hanging down from the top of her forehead and behind her neck, a prom-like hairstyle but not typical with a beauty such as hers. Lindsey stared up at her flawless face, "No, you're doing very nicely. It feels great."
After the rinse, Rosalie sat the girl up and placed a towel on her head, shuffling it quickly, making Lindsey laugh. Rose grinned lightly. Renesmee came over with a blow dryer, and at max power blew her hair around in damp waves.
"You're next." Rosalie told Renesmee.
"I know, I know.” Said the half-vampire. “Just being helpful.”
Alice then burst into the bathroom, "How's this one?" She asked Lindsey, holding a beautiful black dress with red ribbons and designs along the side.
Lindsey was most pleased, and nodded elatedly. Alice giggled, "Esme and I will do your makeup while Rosalie washes Renesmee hair. You two will be so beautiful!"
Bella then entered the bathroom, arriving from the cottage. "Hi, Lindsey." She greeted warmly. "Move over Rose, I'll take care of Renesmee, you focus on the ice girl."
Rosalie shrugged, and then sat the teen in a makeup chair. An assortment of bright lights along both sides of the bathroom mirror flashed on, making Lindsey glow as if she were a movie star.
At the cliff edge that jutted out about fifty feet from the forest line, Jacob's wolf burst out and skidded to a stop. Moments later, Edward appeared, then Emmett, with Carlisle and Jasper simultaneously reaching the finish line. They gazed around at each other a moment, then turned their heads to the direction of David's whistle. The three possessors were afloat beyond the cliff edge, silhouetted among the cloudy gray sky. They had made it almost a minute sooner than the werewolf and vampires.
Carlisle nodded, impressed. Jacob barked proudly, a loud growling laugh which echoed upon the mountains and valleys down below. He then spun around like a happy dog, satisfied that he at least beat the vampires.
"Show offs!" Emmett yelled at the three possessors, who laughed back at him, and Edward laughed too. Emmett punched him in the shoulder, a surprising thud that nearly took Edward off his feet. He pushed back, and the two wrestled playfully.
"Alright, okay, calm down." Said a smiling Carlisle.
"They're faster, for sure." Jasper concluded, shaking his head. "As we sped between the trees I saw them shoot overhead like fighter jets. I knew then we didn't have a chance."
The cliff was upon a high summit that cut off deep into trees below. A ways to their left, a small river flowed out off the edge, creating a waterfall that fell perhaps two-hundred feet. Across the way, about a mile ahead, Carlisle pointed out a large field within the valley and told the possessors that he and the family would sometimes play baseball there.
Renesmee and Lindsey were on the porch with the rest of the vampire women, seated in outdoor furniture and drinking delicious tea that Esme brewed. Lindsey’s hair was up in clips and pins, and the black-red dress she wore fit her wonderfully. Renesmee’s hair was straightened and waved down most of her back, shining as if a metallic orange, her dress similar to Lindsey’s but was green to compliment her red hair. They both looked like princesses and loved it. Alice set up speakers through one of the windows, playing Renesmee’s favorite music, and the six women talked and laughed and drank tea as the men were out playing in the woods.
“This is my mother, Jamie - Joe and Nick's older sister.” Lindsey said, holding out a picture of her to Bella, who took it and studied the photo.
Bella smiled and passed the photo to Esme, who then passed it to Rose and so on. Lindsey then pulled a few more pictures out of a small purse. “And these are my best friends Tori and Dakota. I’m the one in the middle.”
The picture’s gradually gone around the group, and included her father Dave and younger siblings Ashley and Ethan.
“You have a beautiful family, and nice friends.” Esme complimented, passing the Tori and Dakota pic to Bella, and Alice gave Renesmee the one of Lindsey’s mother. Lindsey put the photos away once everyone seen them.
“Maybe I could come visit you in Michigan sometime,” suggested Renesmee, “and we could have a party with your friends or something.”
“That would be pure awesomeness.” Lindsey delighted in the thought, as did Renesmee who stared at her mother as if to ask permission.
Bella nicely smirked and said, “Maybe someday. Your father and I will have to talk about it.”
Renesmee looked satisfied and sipped more of her tea. Lindsey secretly watched Bella, noting how the vampire was different from the other females, more plain Jane in a way but still attractive, like a older teen vampire with the parental essentials kicked into gear. She dressed fashionably casual, as did Esme, unlike Alice and Rose who always had something more exclusive to wear.
“So Lindsey, is there any special boys waiting for you back in Michigan?” Asked Rosalie.
She shook her head, slightly blushing. “No, I’m excited, but kinda nervous about starting high school, and I guess boys aren’t my biggest worry.”
“High school is simple.” Alice assured. “Just ask Rose and I, we’ve graduated twenty times!”
Lindsey burst into laughter, and everyone laughed with her.
“Any boys you like here?” Esme wondered, indicating the male members of her family.
Alice and Rosalie wooed at her, and she became red, unable to remove the smile off her face.
“You have a crush on one of the guys?” Renesmee became curious.
“Come on, out with it.” Rosalie insisted.
Lindsey shrugged, “I don’t know… Jacob is really cute.”
The ladies wooed at her even louder.
“My Jacob?” Renesmee was surprised. “Sorry Linds, but he only has eyes for me.”
“He’s still cute! And so boss, too.”
“I know.” Renesmee stated proudly, giggling afterwards.
“Anybody else?” Wondered Alice.
Lindsey thought about it. “Well, this may sound a little strange… but… there’s something about Carlisle.”
All eyes turned to Esme, but she just laughed cheerily, the rest joining in.
“Come and get us!” Joe called, his eyes burning an intense violet,
Upon the long cliff face, Carlisle, Edward, Emmett and Jasper charged at the three possessors, who threw their telekinetic force at the oncomers, stopping them dead in their tracks, but not completely. Struggling against the power, the vampires pushed on as hard as they could, as if moving in slow motion. Holding them back was tough, and Joe, Nick and David let out grunts of difficulty as they applied the necessary pressure to repel the four. Jacob was off to the side, seated in his wolf form, watching the game with a strange sort of grin on his muzzle, indicating his amusement.
“This… is… so weird.” Said Jasper, pushing through the invisible forces.
Their speed was only five mph, much slower than they expected. The three possessors began to slip, their feet skidding backwards on the rocky cliff as the vampires countered their power. A few more yards and they would go off the edge.
“Getting closer.” Emmett teased, and felt the counter force get a little stronger.
“Don’t strain… yourselves.” Carlisle told the possessors, pushing through with the same difficulty as the rest.
“We’re… fine.” Nick replied, his arms stretched forward as he fought against the opposing strength.
But the possessors were starting to tire quickly and about to go over the edge of the cliff, when Joe said, “Oh hell with it,” and then lifted the four vampires off the ground with the aid of his brother and cousin.
Carlisle, Edward, Emmett and Jasper all hollered simultaneously as the lift took them by surprise. In the air, the vampires were helpless - a feeling that they weren’t use to. If Nick were an enemy, he could use his fire and burn them to ash while holding them afloat, and there’d be nothing they could do.
“Well played, gentlemen, well played.” Carlisle acknowledged as they were lowed back onto the stone ground.
“This isn’t over yet.” Emmett sternly affirmed.
“You’re right.” Nick agreed. “Here’s what were gonna do next.”
He gathered Joe and David in and they huddled together, whispering.
Jacob returned from the woods, back in human form wearing a pair of sweat pants. “What’s going on now?” He asked.
The three possessors turned back to the rest and invited them to the edge of the cliff.
“Our telekinesis combined is enough to carry all of you, as we just saw,” Joe explained, “so we thought we’d take you for a little skydive.”
The vampires and Jacob found this very agreeable, and joined the three at the cliff, staring down a two-hundred foot drop.
“When I say 'go,' we all jump.” Joe instructed as they surrounded their telekinetic power around the rest.
“This is gonna be sweet.” Jacob smiled, preparing himself.
“Ready, everyone?” David called, to which they all excitedly confirmed.
“Go!” Joe yelled, jumping forward.
The eight men leaped into the air… falling a moment… and then the possessors powers caught them before hitting the tall firs below, and shot them straight ahead. Their thrilled hollers and cheers echoed over the landscape.
Evening was already ending, the sky at its twilight hour. After their airborne trek across the barren, tree-covered valleys, the vampires thoroughly thanked the possessors for that moment of adventure. Though they can run fast and jump high, flying was altogether a completely different experience. For the trip back, Emmett proposed a last challenge.
Ten minutes later, four vampires were running back through the trees, but this time Joe and David were on their tails, now flying within the forest and shooting their elements at whichever vampire they could. Nick couldn’t participate in this chase, as his fire would cause serious injury to the flammable vampires, or possibly start a forest fire, so he and Jacob simply raced back on their own.
David weaved between the tall tree trunks flawlessly, a human missile catching up to the vampires who had been given a head start. He found Carlisle and banked to the right, used his outstretched hands to aim, and then fired his bright red bolts at the acquired target. The lightning exploded against the forest floor, turning the surrounding trees red with every flash, always just feet behind the fleeing vampire. Carlisle looked back, grinned, and then flitted faster between the trees with David steadily catching up. The vampire weaved side to side, dodging lightning strikes left and right, and at one point leaped high into the air, flailing as the red streaks of electric fury struck past him on both sides, blasting the tops of trees. Dr. Cullen landed on his two feet and caught up to Edward.
David then directed his lightning to the younger vampire, multiple bursts fired from his hands and missing Edward each time. Eventually, with a stroke of luck, a bolt nailed the vampire, and Edward was launched to the side and slammed against a trunk in an explosion of wood and pine needles.
Not far off, Joe was hot in pursuit of Emmett and Jasper. He fired single balls of freezing purple energy as the two zigzagged through the darkening woods. Flying through the trees was easy, but he couldn’t go as fast as he would in open sky, and striking the vampires was indeed a challenge.
“Bring it on!” Emmett shouted, having the time of his immortal life as he accelerated over a hundred mph with bursts of snowy purple light zooming past him. A trail of ice slabs and frozen vegetation were left for each crash of Joe’s frost beam. He ceased firing for a moment, focusing more on his aim. Eventually, Jasper veered towards Emmett, creating the perfect opportunity to hit them both. He took the shot, but the two split just in time and he missed, unfortunately blasting two fleeing squirrels and freezing them in their tracks, locked together in solid purple ice.
Nick followed the chaos from his aerial view - explosions of red and purple light dashing though the forest back towards the Cullen house. The pursuit ended once they arrived back home, coming out of the woods at a slow human pace. Nick and Jacob rejoined them, and the eight men - amped up from their game of ‘tag’ - strolled back to the house where the ladies were still having their tea party. Emmett and Joe were locked in a lighthearted argument, as the vampire teased the possessor for not being able to freeze him.
“Look at the state of you all!” Alice burst after noticing their dirty and damaged clothing.
Bella quickly rose from her seat, “What happened to you, Edward?”
The entire right side of his shirt was missing from where the crimson lightning struck him, but Edward himself was unharmed. He simply shrugged and gestured towards David, with the other vampires suppressing laughter.
Bella sighed in annoyance. “Men.”
“Relax,” Jacob replied, stepping up the porch and putting a casual arm around her, “Let us have our fun while you have yours. No damage done, eh?”
Bella shrugged, smirking as Jacob hugged her even harder. “You guys just take it easy, okay?”
“Sure, sure.” Jake agreed.
Lindsey and Renesmee then came into view, and Joe, Nick and David were caught off guard by how beautified the two had become. Renesmee, being who she is, was naturally good-looking. Lindsey was too, but her two uncles had never seen her like this before, and were very impressed.
The sun finally set behind the cloud cover, and a grey darkness filled the atmosphere. All went inside the house to change and clean up for the night.
“What have you guys been up too?” David’s mom, Maureen, asked over the phone. “How’s Chicago?”
“Great!” David lied with conviction. “We’ve been touring the city all week, its… very welcoming here.”
Maureen was among the few people who didn’t know David was a possessor. It was always something he felt he should keep from her, and he didn’t know why, but that’s just how it always was. She believed the four were staying in Chicago for the two weeks.
“Are Joe and Nick having fun too? How’s Lindsey doing?”
“All is well.” David answered. “We actually met some people, um, at the hotel. Some young guys and girls who we’ve been hanging out with. It’s been cool.”
“You know, it’s too bad your camera broke, you could have taken some good shots.”
“Yeah, yeah,” David said, the thought of not having his camera burning in his chest. “But, I don’t know, maybe I’ll buy one of those disposable deals. Anyways, I’ll be home in over a week. Everything is good over here. Love you, mom.”
When David hung up, Nick had just gotten off the phone with his daughter. He seemed a little down, saying how he hadn’t been away from Jennifer for this long. The two were seated on the roof of the Cullen house, after a sprinkle of rain had just passed. The air was damp but cool, and had that after rain smell they loved. From the roof they gazed at the mountainous expanse around them, blackened in the rainy night with no moon above. Most of the light’s in the house were off, with only candles burning.
Joe and Lindsey rose to the height of the roof, joining Nick and David, and the four sat in a row and took in the view. Earlier, Jacob had kissed Renesmee goodbye and rode back to La Push on his bike. The Cullen’s were settled in the dark house, allowing their four guests to talk amongst themselves.
“Tomorrow is day five of this trip.” Joe began. “I was wondering what you guys wanted to do for the remainder.”
“Well, what do you think we should do?” Nick asked.
Joe smiled lightly, remembering how four days ago he had wanted to leave this place and continue to trek around the country. The thought of leaving was now extremely displeasing. “I want to stay.” He told them straight up.
“I think you just answered for all of us.” David said agreeably.
“Of course.” Said Lindsey. “I love it here. I don’t think there’s any place out there that’s gonna be better than this.”
“That’s right.” Nick and David accidently said together, and then snickered.
They stayed quiet a minute, listening to the crickets, trying to contemplate the unusually good time they were having here.
“Well, that’s all I wanted to know.” Joe said, getting too his feet. “Oh yeah, Jacob told me about a beach party him and the Quileute’s are having in La Push, right before he left. We are all invited. It’s next Thursday, so we’ll be able to make it.”
David found this exciting. “Great! Let’s do it.”
“Cool.” Nick said in agreement.
In the distance, a wolf howled, catching the possessor’s attention. They wondered if it might have been Jacob.
“Are you all up there?!” Renesmee called from the driveway, gazing up at the top of the house.
Nick, David and Lindsey stood up with Joe, and the four glided down off the roof and joined Renesmee on the ground.
Joe greeted her, “Hello, Esm- I mean Renesmee! Dang, I keep getting you and Esme's names mixed up. I think I'll call you Renee… nah that’s Bella’s moms name… I’ll just call you Nes.”
The young redhead laughed. “Sorry to bother you, but I asked mom and dad if Lindsey could spend the night with us at our cottage. They said sure!”
Lindsey brightened, “I’d love too!”
The three guys were so charmed at how adorable Edward and Bella’s little girl was. She vaguely reminded Nick of his own daughter,
“Hey Renesmee, you like fireworks?” He asked.
She stared up at the tall possessor. “Yes!”
“Come with me then.” Nick said, walking out past the driveway. Renesmee eagerly followed him.
They stopped in the center of the expanse of lawn between the home and the woods. Joe, David and Lindsey watched them from the porch. His eyes now aglow, Nick showed the young girl his bare hand, then reached for her ear and pretended to grab something - a green flame - that now burned in the center of his palm. Renesmee stared in wonder as the flames got bigger, and yelped as he shot the fireball upwards, where it rose high into the air and exploded into many fireballs, raining down in streaks of green, lighting up the surroundings. The girl was thrilled by the sight.
“Just a little trick my wife taught me recently.” Nick told her, his green-lit eyes gazing at another flame in his palm, which he placed back behind her ear.
Unbeknownst to them, Bella watched this from a dark window in the large house.
That night, at Edward and Bella’s beautiful brick cottage, Lindsey and Renesmee lied under the covers of her queen-sized bed, talking and laughing through the night, enjoying their little slumber party. Edward and Bella sat at their couch together, held each other in the flickering light of the fireplace and listened to the girls goofing off when they should be sleeping.
On the mantle of the fireplace stood multiple framed pictures of family and friends, including the Denali clan, Charlie Swan and Sue Clearwater, high school friends Jessica Stanley and Angela Weber, and also a girl Edward befriended during his long stay in Brazil after his choice to leave Bella. Her name was Maira.
Back at the house, Dr. Cullen invited Joe, Nick and David up to his office/study, right next door to the guest room.
“If you don’t mind, I’d like to draw a blood sample from all three of you.” Carlisle explained. “I had once taken blood from Jacob, comparing a werewolves DNA to human and vampire DNA. I’m just curious if a possessor’s DNA and physical attributes are any different as a result of your power.”
They agreed to it, and joined Carlisle in his study.
It was a large room, much bigger than the guest one, with a long wooden desk at the glass window, its eastern wall an entire bookshelf lined top to bottom with volumes and volumes. The rest of the walls were covered in paintings, some large, some small, but all very old by the look. One painting that caught the possessor’s attention was one of Carlisle on a balcony with three ancient and daunting looking men, most likely vampires as well. They stared at it a moment, but didn’t comment, letting Carlisle do his thing. When he was done, they chatted for a few minutes, and Carlisle explained that this was the room Renesmee was born in - a detail that was never mentioned before.
Carlisle stored the blood samples in a vault-like refrigerator which contained other tubes and bags of blood – all work related. After, he politely showed them around the study a bit, letting the three view the credentials, PHD’s and degrees he obtained over many years, plus his certification of the Cullen’s personal company called C.E.E. There was an office on the first floor where they managed all their business dealings.
In a nutshell, the vampires were well educated, well placed among human society, and rich beyond comprehension, but, their wealth was clearly obvious to the guests since they first arrived.
Satisfied with Carlisle’s tour, the doctor kindly wished them goodnight as the three retired to their rooms. They quickly shut off the lights and went under the covers. Just before they were about to fall asleep, Emmett loudly burst out from behind Lindsey’s empty bed, jolting the three awake as their screams echoed through the entire house.
“Boo!” Emmett laughed, and then hurried out of the room.
Their hearts continued beating again, and Joe threw a purple pillow at the door. “Jerk!” He shouted, and Emmett cackled hysterically.
The weekend went by. A severe thunderstorm had developed on that Saturday morning over the entire Olympic peninsula that didn’t end until Sunday night. Still, the possessors had two exquisite days more with the Cullen family even when stuck in the house.
On that Monday morning, Joe and Nick sat down with Renesmee and ate a late breakfast at a table set in the wide front foyer of the home where the piano was. Bella and Rosalie sat down with the brothers, but of course didn’t eat. Rosalie braded Renesmee’s hair as they chatted. Esme came in from the kitchen, putting scrambled eggs on their plates.
“You know, Esme,” Nick said after taking a bite. “For people who don’t eat, you guys sure know how to cook.”
“We make sure our friends are taken care of.” She said, smiling at him.
Joe liked how she referred to them as friends instead of guests or visitors. He observed her as she gracefully walked back into the kitchen, mesmerized by way her brown hair waved down one side of her head, just looking amazing. David wasn’t there, but out with Jasper doing some photography in the mountains. Jasper had a small thing for the art, and after learning of David’s interest, he invited him for an outdoor shoot, which he excitedly agreed to. The two grabbed a couple of Jasper’s cameras and took off.
As Joe ate, he glanced at Rosalie as she worked at Renesmee’s hair. He asked, “So Rose, have you ever done any modeling?”
She looked up at him and simply said, “Yes.”
Joe waited for more but the blonde just continued braiding. She looked back up at him, finding his stare amusing. “Nothing exclusive.” She clarified for him. “My vampirism doesn’t allow it. How about you?”
Joe grinned and shook his head, “Not much to look at over here, but you’re way too gorgeous to not give it a try. I was just wondering.”
“Maybe David could shoot me sometime.” She suggested.
"Not before me." Alice smiled, passing them in the foyer and heading upstairs.
“What about me?” Renesmee fired. “I can be a model too, right? I’m pretty enough.”
Joe eyed her kindly. “That goes without saying. You know, I’ve always preferred red-heads.”
“It’s true.” Edward said as he passed Alice down the staircase, looking suave as usual. “I read his mind.”
He kissed Bella and Renesmee, and then headed for the front door.
“Where are you going?” Bella asked.
“Hunting. I’ll be back shortly, love.”
Joe immediately stood, and gave Edward a curious stare. “Can I go with you?” He anxiously asked the vampire.
Bella and Rosalie stared at Joe with wide eyes. Renesmee was surprised too but hid it as she finished her food. Nick stopped chewing and waited for Edwards reply.
The male vampire debated uncertainly to himself. “I don’t know about that.”
Joe looked disappointed. “Oh, come on. I want to see this. We’ve shown you what we can do, so it would only be fair to show us what you can do, right? What do ya say?”
Edward nodded understandingly, and then shrugged, “Suit yourself, Mr. Sutton, but I’m warning you, you might not like what you see.”
Edwards warning didn’t concern Joe. “I’ll be back.” He told Nick as he headed out the door with the vampire.
Nick took Joe’s plate and scooped the rest of his eggs onto his. He looked at Bella, “Aren’t you going too?”
She shook her head, “I fed on Friday, so I’m good for a while.”
Bella rose and collected Joe and Renesmee’s empty plates, taking them to the kitchen.
After a while, Esme had to leave for the hospital. She sometimes worked as an assistant to Carlisle. Rose and Renesmee then took to Jasper’s study for a lesson in history - part of the young girl’s schooling.
Nick and Bella were now alone together, and he took this opportunity to chat with the vampire one on one. As Bella washed dishes, Nick joined her in the kitchen.
“Can I help with anything?” He asked thoughtfully.
Bella turned around and dried her marble hands on a towel. “Just finished.” She smiled.
Nick nodded, and crossed his arms, leaning back against the fridge. “So… how are things?”
She looked around, “Pretty quiet now. I hear you’re staying till Friday?”
“Yes, your family has been really… generous towards us. We’re very grateful.”
“Yeah, they were excited to meet you after Alice’s visions.”
Nick liked Bella. She came off as a laid back, girl-next-door type vampire. She was quaint, and her beauty and personality were more tomboyish, at least compared to her sisters. In a way, she seemed the most human of all of them. Plus, her ability to sheild herself from other vampire's enhanced powers was also an interesting quality. Edward could not read her mind, unless she opened the shield and allowed it.
Nick continued, “But I got the impression that you weren’t too thrilled to meet us.”
She sighed, looking down at her feet. “Well, yes. At first.”
Bella thought about it, and then focused again on Nick, “In the past, most strangers that came around were… bad news. You remember the story of James, Laurent and Victoria, right?”
Nick nodded, reminiscing on his fury when learning how that nomad covenant tried to hunt the Cullen’s, particularly Bella, multiple times in multiple ways.
“Well, when I learned a group of humans with super powers were going to come stay with us, it made me edgy. It’s hard for me to trust strangers these days, especially those who are different like you. Do you understand?”
“I do.” Nick said seriously. “I’m sorry for what has happened to you before, but I swear we didn’t mean any harm when coming here. We never planned on all this.”
“I know that now, Nick.” She said to him warmly. “Edward told me many times everything would be okay, and he was right. You guys have been a very remarkable addition to this house. A few years ago I was in that same position - new to everything you see here. I… kind of feel bad about my unwelcoming attitude towards you. Rosalie does too.”
“You have nothing to feel bad about.”
She was pleased with Nick’s kindness, as he was with hers.
“Do you miss your daughter?” She asked him.
Nick went a little blue. “Every day.”
“I saw you with Renesmee that one night, when you showed her the way you shoot fire to the sky. That was very cute. You seem like a good father.”
“Thank you. Renesmee is special for sure, and has great parents. I’ve watched you and Edward with her since we’ve been here and it… I don’t know… the kind of parents you are... made me think a lot about Holly and Jennifer.”
“You’re not doubting your parenting skills, are you?” She asked him.
“No, not really.”
“It’s not easy, even for vampires, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Edward is… my endless story, and Renesmee is my territory. They’re the reason I don’t breathe.”
The two laughed at that last line.
“And Jacob…” Bella continued, “…I still like to think of him as my best friend, even though Renesmee’s influence makes him family now, but as my friend he took care of me, and remembering that brings me comfort. Jacob is important, same as my husband and daughter, and I will always love him.”
“You’re so lucky to have found them, Bella. It’s an amazing feeling. When Holly and I first got together it was the best I’ve ever felt, and then marriage and having a daughter with her… I knew then I was set for life, as it is now and will always be.”
“Exactly.” Bella agreed wholeheartedly.
“But being here is kinda like that…” Nick explained. “I just want you all to know I feel lucky to know you and Edward and Carlisle and everyone else.”
She grinned, “Thanks, Nicholas, I’m very glad to know you too.” And she gave him a friendly kiss on the cheek before leaving the kitchen.
“Ew, vampire cooties.” He joked, and Bella humorously rolled her eyes.
Edward and Joe had taken off into the woods through the backyard, and headed north. Joe flew while Edward ran. The trees were thick in this area, and Joe didn’t want to fly within them, so the possessor had trouble keeping track of the vampire from the sky. Edward had to scream or shake trees to signal his location, which for some reason he found hilarious. Around forty miles in, the signals stopped, so Joe made a direct landing in the deep woods, guessing they could have been in Canada by now.
Moments after he landed, he spotted Edward crouched and staring ahead at something. Joe was about to call out to him, but stopped when the vampire put a finger to his lips. He quietly approached, crouching down with the vampire and trying to see what Edward had found. Joe expected a deer, or a bear, but he was wrong. Yards ahead, among the trees walked a large puma. Joe’s eyes widened at first seeing the big cat, having only seen tigers at the zoo and things like that. Nothing wild.
“It’s a magnificent creature, don’t you think?” Edward whispered to Joe in an impressed tone.
Joe simply nodded, not taking his eyes off the animal.
Then came the growl.
When Joe first heard the sound he mistook it for another big cat directly behind them, and whipped his head around only to find out… the growl was coming from Edward. It was a deep sound emanating from his hard throat, inhuman and vicious - the sound of a deadly predator. The possessors face went white as the vampire barred his razor fangs, increasing the volume of his growl. Next thing he knew, Joe was staring at no one.
Edward tackled the puma before it could even turn its head. The two made one violent role, and the cat roared in surprise, going silent as Edward pinned the animal and bit it's neck just under the chin. He held it there and heaved inward, drawing blood from a vital artery. The cat whimpered, suddenly weak and no longer struggling.
From his position, Joe fell to his side, dazed and astonished by the harsh but necessary actions of Edward. It was then that he realized how a human had no chance against a creature like him. The Cullen’s were some of the finest people he had ever met, but when they hunted they were something completely opposite. It was truly frightening, and he now understood why Edward was hesitant to allow him to be a witness. Overall, Joe was still satisfied. Lindsey had been the only one to see a vampire feed, back when they first met Carlisle.
Meanwhile, at the Cullen’s grand garage, or as David liked to call "The Auto Show," him and Nick sat inside a yellow Porsche 911 Turbo – Alice’s car, once a gift from Edward.
“My turn to drive.” Nick announced in his badass voice.
David strapped himself into the passenger’s seat. “Hit it!”
Nick slammed his foot of the gas, the wheels of the vehicle screaming as it shot out of the open garage door. Dirt kicked up from the driveway, passing the house and on towards the clearing in the woods.
Earlier, they had asked Alice’s permission, to which she thought and said, “Sure you can drive the Porsche. I haven’t any visions of it being totaled. Get out of the house and have fun!”
The Porsche spun off the long path and out onto Highway 101 southbound. Nick and David laughed as they zoomed down the tree-lined road, noting the smooth drive of the vehicle. They crossed over the Sol Duc river, eventually passing La Push Rd. that led into the Quileute reservation. The small, green city of Forks – which they had only seen from the sky before – came into view, and Nick decelerated as they made their entry.
Highway 101 turned into North Forks Avenue, lined with houses, stores and small businesses, but was still a heavily wooded area. They noticed the backyards of these residences were primarily forests. Stopped at a red light at the intersection of West Division St., a truck carrying a load of massive logs slowly went by, heading for a distant lumber yard. They ended up going down Spartan Avenue, where David pointed out Forks High School: Home of the Spartans – where Bella had first met Edward. The yellow Porsche slowed to a stop as Nick and David peeked out at the school. It wasn’t a single large building like most schools, but a collection of red brick buildings, kind of like a small campus of sorts. It looked as if each edifice was a single classroom.
Moving on down Bogachiel Way, the two possessors passed Forks Hospital where Carlisle worked. Him and Esme were there now, and they spotted Dr. Cullen’s black Mercedes in a reserved spot, but Nick and David continued driving, thinking it best not to interrupt him at his important job. Bogachiel Way led out of Forks, so Nick turned down an intersecting street that would lead them to South Forks Avenue.
It became obvious to Nick and David that Alice didn’t drive the Porsche through Forks too often, because pedestrians on the streets kept turning their heads to the hot vehicle as it purred by. Outside a place called Newton’s Olympic Outfitters, a woman stood at an ice cream stand selling cones to a group of kids and their parents. Ice cream sounded good, so Nick floored into the parking lot and spun the Porsche into a parking space, startling the kids and people about. David gave his cousin a look, and Nick shrugged, smirking as if to say ‘oops.’ They stepped out of the car and approached the stand.
“Could I get a strawberry cone, and…” Nick looked to David.
“Vanilla dipped in chocolate, please.” David replied.
The woman behind the counter was Karen Newton. She had a son named Mike who, unbeknownst to the two, was a friend of Bella and Edward, and use to go to the high school with them.
“That’s some ride.” Karen said as she handed them the cones. “We don’t see cars like that through Forks often.”
“Yeah, we’re from outta town.” Nick coolly stated, pretending the Porsche was his.
David found this amusing, and told Mrs. Newton he owned a Ferrari F430, which was a vehicle Bella owned. Karen gave them a curious look. “What part of ‘outta town’ are you from, exactly?”
“Michigan.” Nick said, frankly.
“The motor city.” David added.
“Oh.” Karen simply replied.
They paid for their ice cream and then ate it while sitting on the hood of the Porsche.
From the sky, Joe circled the open meadow that Edward had led him too on their way back to the Forks area. “I want to show you something.” He had told Joe, minutes after finishing off a couple wildcats. “Bella and I have a sentimental place we often go too. Would you like to see it?”
Joe agreed, and flew low above the trees as Edward shot through them, moving slower than usual so the possessor could easily follow.
Now at the meadow, Joe made a soft landing at its center and gazed around with bright purple eyes. It was a beautiful, wide circle surrounded by the forest pines and ferns. The field itself was a patch of high grasses with wildflowers of white, yellow and violet. Joe looked around a moment, thinking that David and Jasper should have come here to take photographs. He then noticed Edward yards off at the forest edge, watching Joe curiously. Joe picked a violet flower from the ground and put it to his nose. A lilac smell he recognized. He let his power consume the flower, creating a slight crackling sound as the pedals froze over in a violet frost.
“This is… cool.” He told Edward, turning as he took in the scenery.
“Cool?” The vampire asked, questioning Joe’s unconvincing modesty.
Joe shrugged, “Yes, cool, awesome, beautiful… what more do you want?”
Minutes later, the two sat up a tall tree with the open meadow spread out in front of them. The two were seated on a thick branch, about fifteen feet high. From Joe's perspective, the meadow was almost fairytale like, and he realized this whole trip so far was kind of like a fairytale to him. Edward read this thought.
“My family is a fairytale.” He told Joe. “Carlisle, Esme, Alice, all of them were more than I could ask for. But Bella and Renesmee… they make the fairytale true for me. I’m 113 years old, but it feels like I’ve been waiting… a thousand years for them.”
“You got it made.” Joe stated, nodding.
“And of course…” Edward continued, “…the whole possessor aspect makes for an interesting twist.”
Joe grinned. “I guess, but you guys are different. I mean… even if you weren’t vampires, you’d still be amazing people.” He shook his head and continued, “It seems so much longer than just a week since we first came here. It's crazy. I always thought vampires were the stuff of legends and whatnot.”
“And I always thought superheroes were the stuff of comic books.” Edward added.
Joe chuckled, “You hit it. My life’s a comic book, and yours is a fairytale.”
The two were silent a moment as a breeze waved through the flowers of the meadow.
Edward turned to Joe. “There’s something you want to get out, isn’t there?”
Joe looked at him. “About what?”
A flush came over Joe, and the memory of last Sunday night popped into his head. That night, Joe had found Esme alone in the first floor living room, listening to 50’s romance, which she had a taste for. Esme then asked Joe to accompany her, and Joe jubilantly accepted. After a small conversation, the vampire asked the elder possessor if he knew how to dance. Joe didn’t, so Esme gave him a simple lesson in classic etiquette slow dancing. It was fun for Esme, but Joe cherished every second of that moment, being that close to her, savoring her touch, her scent, and her kind face.
It was on Joe's mind all day - something Edward could help but read.
“I try not to pry on your thoughts,” The vampire said, bringing Joe back to reality, “some things you want to keep private, so I haven’t really focused on your opinion of Esme, but it’s a little obvious you’ve had your eye on her since you first arrived.”
Joe looked somewhat ashamed, and Edward assured him it wasn’t a big deal. “What do you like about her?” The vampire asked.
“What’s not to like?” Joe replied, opening the flood gates. “She’s… wonderful! So sweet and exquisite and gorgeous… there’s a kind of magnetism about her.”
Edward remained hushed as Joe continued, “Esme is… a true woman. She has that kind, motherly persona, and I dig that, ya know?”
The vampire understood.
“Of course Bella and Alice and Rosalie are beautiful and great too, but Esme is… a woman who just makes it all better, who takes care of you. I don’t know… I guess she just does it for me. Carlisle is lucky to have her.”
Another moment of silence went by.
“Does Esme know how I feel?” Joe anxiously asked.
Edward grinned. “Mostly.”
“Did you tell her based on my thoughts?”
“I didn’t have to. Like I said, you gave off that impression yourself.”
Joe stared blankly down at the meadow, lost in thought.
“Don’t worry, Esme thinks it’s cute that you’re taken by her. You're not the only one, but she like’s you a lot, Mr. Sutton.”
The possessor smiled at this.
“But don’t try anything.” Edward humorously advised.
Joe laughed, “Oh yeah, like I ever had a chance. Seriously, I think Carlisle is perfect, for her and for all of you. No one, man or vampire or possessor, could compete.”
“Carlisle thinks very highly of you four, as does the rest of the family. You will be missed when you leave.”
The thought of leaving on Friday made Joe’s stomach ache. He ignored it and focused on the moment. “You’re a... swell guy, Edward. I’m glad we got to hang out.”
“Me too.” He agreed, giving Joe a single hard pat on the shoulder.
Later, Edward told Joe about the sunny day he first brought Bella here, also when the wolves intervened Laurent at this very location, and how else this place gained romantic sentiment for him and his wife. The two casually chatted together for a time more, noticing evening approaching and then deciding to leave. Before Joe took to the sky once again, he floated at treetop level and got one last look at the flowery pasture, imprinting the image in his mind.
The possessor then shot away, catching up to his vampire friend.
The yellow Porsche zoomed down Fern Hill Rd. David was now in the drivers seat, and cruised within the neighborhood at fifty mph. Without realizing hit, they passed Charlie Swan’s house; Bella’s father and police chief of Forks. He was stepping out of the house to start a late shift when the Porsche flew down the road.
“Damn, dead end.” David noticed as the road curved and cut off completely.
“Just turn around.” Nick instructed, still amped up from the sweet ride.
David made a U-Turn, and kicked up dirt as he floored it back the way they came, passing Bella’s old house once again. Charlie rushed into his police cruiser, backed out of the driveway and hit the gas after the speeding Porsche. He flashed on the overhead lights and caught up with the vehicle as it was turning back on South Forks Rd., heading north.
“Uh oh,” Nick said, looking through the rear view mirror, and then turning around to see the cop through the back windshield.
“Busted.” Said David, shaking his head and pulling over.
Charlie pulled up behind the vehicle, turned off his sirens but kept the red and blue lights flashing. He stepped out and gazed at the 911 Turbo, recognizing it immediately. Nick and David composed themselves as best as possible, trying to think of a good excuse for speeding. The police chief stepped up to the driver’s side, and calmly knocked on the window.
As David rolled it down, Chief Swan said, “Alice, why are you driving like…” He paused, noticing it wasn’t Alice in the yellow Porsche, but some kid he had never seen before.
Charlie and David stared at each other a moment, then Charlie asked, “Who are you?”
“Um… David.” The young man answered unsurely.
Charlie took another gander and the vehicle, so sure this was Alice’s car. Who else had a Porsche 911 Turbo around here? He then went to the back and re-checked the license plate, indicating that this was indeed Alice’s vehicle, registered under his son-in-law’s name.
“Will you step out of the car please, David?” Charlie nicely ordered.
The boy unbuckled his seat belt and opened the door.
“Should I step out too?” Nick suggested.
“Who was that?” Charlie asked, gazing back into the car and spotting Nick for the first time. Nick grinned, and Charlie told him get out as well and stand next to David, to which Nick complied. Chief Swan put his hands on his hips and got a good look and these two strangers.
“This car belongs to a one Mary Alice Cullen.” He told them. “It is registered under Edward Anthony Cullen. Who are you and what are you doing with it?”
“You know the Cullen’s?” David asked the chief.
“Yes, and you are?”
“David Richards, from Michigan.”
“And I’m Nicholas Sutton. He’s my cousin.”
Charlie nodded, stroking his partially graying mustache. “And you know the Cullen’s how?”
Nick and David looked at each other uncertainly, and then David cleanly answered, “We’re friends of theirs.”
The chief gave them intense scrutiny, as if he wasn’t buying it. “Friends from Michigan?”
“Correct. We um… came to visit for the week,” Nick explained, “and Alice let us drive her car. Are you a friend of Dr. Cullen?”
Charlie hesitated, “Yes, and Isabella is my daughter.”
It then hit Nick and David like a lightning bolt, how Bella mentioned her father was the police chief of Forks, plus his involvement in her story. The chief noticed how they gawked as if the two had finally recognized him.
“I’m guessing Bella mentioned me?” He awkwardly asked.
“Yeah she did.” David said, extending his hand. “It’s nice to meet you, Chief Swan.”
The chief hesitantly took the young man’s hand and shook, “David…?”
“Ah.” He then shook Nick’s hand. “And Nicholas Sutton, did you say?”
“Right. Good to meet you too, Chief.”